Raise your hand if you hoped this game would be meaningful in the conference race? You likely thought that the matchup with Tulsa would be for the division, like the ECU-Marshall tilt (as of this writing Marshall is up 24-10 at home) out East.
Tulsa fans know disappointment. The Golden Hurricane are nowhere near what anyone thought they’d be in preseason. We Mean Green? Sure, we are disappointed that the offense was tripped up by a 3rd year transitional program — no matter how good, how well-coached, or how disciplined. It still stings. Both programs go into this game ready to cleanse the palate of terrible losses. For Tulsa, this is it. There are no more games. Picked to compete in the conference this year, instead they have turned in a 3-8, 2-5 effort.
While they aren’t the team that used to come in to Denton and destroy us, they are still a team to respect.
Forgive me if I’m not worried, or really thinking about Tulsa this week. I have a little bit of What Could Have Been on my mind. I am still thinning about whether or not North Texas could have handled explosive Marshall up in Huntington, WV. I’m still thinking how I’d rather be planning for a Memphis bowl trip than resigning my fate to the Heart of Dallas Bowl1. I’d rather be celebrating a CUSA West division this afternoon than cheering a good season and high-riving eight wins. I’d rather be celebrating 9 wins.
It kind of hurts to root for meaningful November football.
It is great and terrible all wrapped into one feeling.
All the conference excitement is taken up by Tulane’s amazing run and UTSA surprising one. Such is our luck that we lost to both of them.
What Is On The Line
The New Orleans Bowl went and offered ULL, our old Sun Belt mate, a provisional spot in the bowl the other day. CUSA’s bowl slotting is done by the conference and not the school so we don’t quite know where we will go but the smart money is that the Heart of Dallas Bowl will offer UNT a spot after a win today. Or maybe even if we lose. The game is played at the Cotton Bowl on January 1st. Tell me how North Texas wouldn’t be perfect for that? For the first bowl game in roughly ten years, the easiest one to get our fair-weather fan base to attend is the one closest. Add to that the fact that there will be a month to seek tickets and raise awareness of a bowl game in an historic stadium and we should get a good crowd. I figure the HOD committee knows this and why we are projected to go to this bowl by pretty much everyone.
Outside of that — nothing conference-wise. If you want to be tied for first in the conference division (and still lose on a tie breaker — then you are rooting for a win by Tulane over Rice and a loss by UTSA to LaTech2. That would mean we could claim the largest share of a division tie. To that I say “Sure, why not.”
Here are the CUSA scenarios in case you are scoreboard watching:
Rice (6-1) – controls its destiny to win the West Division. The Owls win the West Division with a victory at home Saturday vs.
Tulane (5-2) – remains in contention to win the West Division. The Green Wave can win the West Division with a win at Rice,
coupled with a Louisiana Tech win at UTSA. Tulane would win a three-way tie with Rice and North Texas and a two-way tie with
UTSA (5-2) – remains in contention to win the West Division. The Roadrunners can win the West Division with a win at home
Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech, combined with a Tulane win at Rice Saturday. UTSA wins a three-way tie with Rice and Tulane, as
well as a four-way tie Rice, Tulane and North Texas.
North Texas (5-2) – has been eliminated from winning the West Division. The Mean Green cannot win a three-team tie with Rice
and Tulane or a four-way tie with Rice, Tulane and UTSA.
Here is something interesting — this is yet another game on national television. It is a small thing. There are other prestige games on today: The Iron Bowl, Florida-FSU, Ohio St-Michigan, Clemson-South Carolina, ND-Stanford, UCLA-USC, Duke-NC.
Only the die-hard football lovers will make the switch over to watch North Texas take on a middling Tulsa for more than a commercial break. Hey. I’ll take that though. It was just last year that you could only find us on the Internet if you were lucky. I’ll take a hundred nationally televised games going up against Ohio State – Michigan vs one exclusive online-only game.
Fun Facts to Impress Your Mom With3
Although North Texas was nearly unbeatable at home (5-1 at Apogee) they are less so on the road. A lot of that is because the road schedule includes SEC teams and the like. Still, road victories tell you a lot about the team. Two winnable losses happened on the road to Ohio and Tulane. This is a very winnable game. If you want to see and indicator of program progress we should see another complete victory in Tulsa today. Technically bowl games are neutral site venues — even if they occur in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl — so the next road game is in Austin against the Longhorns next season.
A win and this is officially the biggest turnaround in school history since 1984, and only the 13th 8-win season in school history.
A win would break the Tulsa 10-game win streak against us. Gah! Also, the’ve averaged a 44-13 victory since 2005. Coincidently, this was the first game I went to as a North Texas fan. It began amazingly well and fell apart very quickly.
Brelan Chancellor is only 163 yards away from breaking Lance Dunbar’s total yardage record.
We opened as 3 point favorites and that line has since moved to 4.5. Make of that what you will.
I am very much excited for the HOD. My point is that I’d rater be playing for the CUSA title game and dealing with all the stuff that goes with it. ↩
No doubt a good number of you are rooting for UTSA losses in everything, forever. Funny because when I took a straw poll before the year a number of Mean Green fans listed Tulane as the “rival” of note. Hurm. ↩